Friday 17 December 2010

no Cage preview?

Dear BBC Radio 1

regarding your update chart page at --??

why is the John Cage single (#18: 4'33") the only??track on the chart list which does not have an audition preview button?

Wednesday 1 December 2010

YES! Beckett On Film Online

Ohio Impromptu (2000)
Director: Charles Sturridge
Cast: Jeremy Irons ... Reader / Listener

Catastrophe (2000)
Director: David Mamet
Harold Pinter ... The Director
Rebecca Pidgeon ... The Director's Assistant
John Gielgud ... The Protagonist

Breath (2000)
Director: Damian Hirst
Cast: Keith Allen (voice)

Not I (1973)
Director: Anthony Page
Cast: Billie Whitelaw ... Auditor / Mouth

Act Without Words I (2000)
Director: Karel Reisz
Cast: Sean Foley

Act Without Words II (2000)
Director: Enda Hughes
Cast: Marcello Magni, Pat Kinevane

Pages: 1 2

Been waiting a hundred years for this

Thursday 18 November 2010

Gryphiusstrasse, Hamburg - Google Maps

This is pretty hilarious: after oodles of meetings and debates, Germany's largest cities have conceded to allow Google Maps street-views ... sort of ... almost ... kinda. For example, here you can just see the window of my old home on Gryphiusstrasse, Hamburg - Google Maps[googlemaps,+hamburg&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Gryphiusstra%C3%9Fe+6,+Winterhude+22299+Hamburg,+Germany&ei=yDvlTKKoJ5SgngfKt4CoDQ&oi=geocode_result&ved=0CBMQ8gEwAA&t=h&layer=c&cbll=53.590973,10.00057&panoid=KmaOYjwPt0cH2CctXxVVTw&cbp=13,213.01,,0,-6.72&ll=53.584519,10.00391&spn=0.015999,0.048237&z=14&source=embed&output=svembed&w=562&h=314]
That's it, iirc, on the 3rd floor up, that would be Derek's bedroom window and to the left of that, midst the blur, the balcony where we'd launch our rockets for the New Years fireworks. Back down the other direction it seems things haven't changed in 45 years, the block across the street is still under reconstruction, although here it looks no less blocky and blurry than our staid old apartment block.
I can't wait to explore back down the bookending mainstreets to see if the businesses at least let Google map their facades. I wonder if the old 45rpm record vending machine is still there ...
For those interested (and who either read German or don't mind a google translation) Daniel Schwerd offers some explanation as to why the streets of those fair cities should be so, well, grossly pixelated.  Oh and before you waste the time to bother with it, you should know that the entire core of the Reeperbahn has been completely blacked out.

Sunday 3 October 2010

A Message to Municipal Candidates

Whenever I begin to feel positive about the future of western civilization, an election roles around and shatters my illusions. As we near the municipal elections, I seek in vain for any shred of a viable future vision; the best simply say they will 'do their best' but in the same breath they repeat the mantras of growth and development.

“Knowing exactly how much of the future can be introduced into the present is the secret of great government.” — Victor Hugo

Dear council hopefulls, I have stood in the path and in the wake of that 'development', and seen the effects in all too many previous homelands, I have heard all the Progress slogans, and I have seen what follows; among the Amerindians of central america they say it is not wise to scream in the jungle, because the jaguars will come, and when they do, they won't be thinking of your prosperity. As a public service to all candidates, I offer the following message from another world, a world before your world, a message from your elders, the peoples who live at the heart of our world, and I only ask that you give them audience, then pause and ponder why they should say such very contrary things so earnestly. If the Kobi message tempers just one of the policies that will fall from your hand in the years ahead, I will consider that to be the first evidence of real progress.

Here's a tip: real progress happens when you learn to take care of your own with what you already have.  After that, any extra is extra.  Any salvational Satori will not come from without, it will come from within.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

The Artificial Ape: Man

We were never fully biological entities. We are, and always have been, the cybernetic ape.


Darwin is one of my heroes, but I believe he was wrong in seeing human evolution as a result of the same processes that account for other evolution in the biological world - especially when it comes to the size of our cranium.

Darwin had to put large cranial size down to sexual selection, arguing that women found brainy men sexy. But biomechanical factors make this untenable. I call this the smart biped paradox: once you are an upright ape, all natural selection pressures should be in favour of retaining a small cranium. That's because walking upright means having a narrower pelvis, capping babies' head size, and a shorter digestive tract, making it harder to support big, energy-hungry brains. Clearly our big brains did evolve, but I think Darwin had the wrong mechanism. I believe it was technology. We were never fully biological entities. We are and always have been artificial apes.

They shaped their tools and thereafter their tools shaped us, quite literally says Tim Taylor. Some ancestor like australopithecines started the stone toolmaking so as to fashion power extensions of themselves from sinew, leather, woven grass and wood; add in a pressing need to relieve mama's aching back, and the rest is a tumbling cascade into history...

Monday 7 June 2010

Method of swinging on a swing - Patent 6368227

If ever there was such, here is incontrovertable proof that the Patent system is bent beyond all credibility: Patent #6368227
I claim:

1. A method of swinging on a swing, the method comprising the steps of: a) suspending a seat for supporting a user between only two chains that are hung from a tree branch; b) positioning a user on the seat so that the user is facing a direction perpendicular to the tree branch; c) having the user pull alternately on one chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward one side, and then on the other chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward the other side; and d) repeating step c) to create side-to-side swinging motion, relative to the user, that is parallel to the tree branch.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the method is practiced independently by the user to create the side-to-side motion from an initial dead stop.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of: e) inducing a component of forward and back motion into the swinging motion, resulting in a swinging path that is generally shaped as an oval.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the magnitude of the component of forward and back motion is less than the component of side-to-side motion.

Licenses are available from the inventor upon request.

via, on a sidebar tip from Rob Brezny

I don't know about you, but my friends and I were doing prior art on this long before not only the birth of now 17 year old 'inventor', but very likely before the birth of either of his parents or his patent lawyer. If the examiners could accept this as intellectual property, what won't they accept?

Sunday 6 June 2010

Spectacular ancient maple

Spectacular ancient maple, originally uploaded by TeledyN.

The schoolyard fenceruns right through it out behind Hillcrest Elementary;
the boys say it may be a Totoro tree.

Saturday 15 May 2010

Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words
Originally uploaded by TeledyN
The only quote of mine left of those that adorned the Toronto transit, and perhaps the last of them to prove false ;)

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Yale Scientists Explain Why The Universe CANNOT be 'Intelligent Design'

Ok, I've baited you with that headline, but bear with me a sec. The story goes like this:

???It is a commonplace metaphor that the genome is the operating system of a living organism. We wanted to see if the analogy actually holds up,??? said Mark Gerstein, the Albert L. Williams Professor of Biomedical Informatics; professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and computer science.

Both E coli and the Linux networks are arranged in hierarchies, but with some notable differences in how they achieve operational efficiencies. The molecular networks in the bacteria are arranged in a pyramid... the Linux operating system is organized more like an inverted pyramid because software engineers tend to save money and time.

???But it also means the operating system is more vulnerable to breakdowns because even simple updates to a generic routine can be very disruptive,??? Gerstein said. To compensate, these generic components have to be continually fine-tuned by designers.

???We can do this because we are designing these changes intelligently.???

However. he noted, to an organism like E coli, random mutations would be fatal. That???s why E. coli cannot afford generic components, adding that over billions of years of evolution, such an organization has proven robust, protecting the organism from random damaging mutations.

And there you have it: The Universe cannot be the product of Intelligent Design because, by our own definition of the term, if it was 'intelligent' design, all vital functions of the Universe would crash all the time, and thus would never have got off the ground evolutionarily, and therefore could not exist, and since it does exist, it therefore cannot be the product of Engineering.


Put another way, I'm reminded of the Tao Te Ching: "Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?"

Monday 10 May 2010

The Five Ultraman's Vows

Remember! I will not go to school with empty stomach.??
Remember! I will open up my windows when the weather is good.??
Remember! I will be careful of cars when walking by the roadside.??
Remember! I will not rely on others.??
Remember! I will run around and play barefoot on the ground

Everything I learned, I learned watching Japanese kaiju movies.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

xkcd's Color Survey Results. No, seriously ...


Ok, all kidding aside, webcomic xkcd did indeed mount a very thoughtfully designed and serious mass survey of the colours people perceive that is nonetheless quite hilarious both for what it tells us that we suspected was true, and for the myth it explodes among what we had thought (or wished) was true.

The final upshot of it all, however, is a new palette of RGB values web designers can use to reliably represent 48 basic and 954 commonly perceived colours correcting the standard X11 rgb.txt listing. You can also learn how to spell 'fuchsia'.

Wednesday 31 March 2010

newspapers vs what matters to most people

It's like there are two worlds: the one covered by the Times and Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, with front pages replete with stories about gridlock in Washington and infighting in the White House, and style sections that cover boring and repetitive fashion and gossip about dull people, and the one that I find unceasingly arresting, where people with lives and passions who actually know something and do stuff that can make the world a better place hang out. 

The first one, increasingly out-of-touch with what matters, is Landliner Nation.

The second, where the action is and where people are spending more and more time and money, well, I'm not sure what to call it.

Hear here.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

The Bloom Box: An Energy Breakthrough? - 60 Minutes - CBS News

The Bloom Box: An Energy Breakthrough? - 60 Minutes - CBS News: "Bloom boxes will power not just our richest companies, but remote villages in Africa and all our houses.

'In five to ten years, we would like to be in every home,' he told Stahl.

He said a unit should cost an average person less than $3,000.

'You are an idealist,' Stahl remarked.

'You know, it's about seeing the world as what it can be and not what it is,' Sridhar replied."

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Were you smiling? 10/03/06 GEOS-5 portrait of Earth

Were you smiling? Awesome portrait of Earth taken Saturday

Did you feel like you were being watched on Saturday? In fact, you were, and we have the pictures right here to prove it. Reacting to the groundswell of admiration for its full-disk pictures of Earth we showed you last week, the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio uploaded these brand new shots of our blue marble, taken Saturday, March 6, 2010.

The scientists from Goddard were amazed at the reaction all around the blogosphere to the shot of the earth we showed you a couple of weeks ago, especially since it's been the default wallpaper on the iPhone since its debut, and has been around for years. They figured they'd really dazzle us with these even-sharper and newer shots, and they've succeeded in a profound way. Be sure to click on the pictures in the gallery below for intense enlargements.

But wait, that's not the half of it. The most spectacular visual of our planet is one we can't paste in here, but it will be worth your while to follow this link and be astonished by an HD moving image of the Earth as it looked on a single day, on January 2, 2009. These were all taken by the GEOS-5 satellite (Goddard Earth Observing System Model, Version 5). Before it became grossly overused, this is what the word "awesome" really meant. So were you smiling? We are now.

Here's another sequence of images, taken by GOES-5 on August 17-26, 2009:

Goddard Space Flight Center, via Flickr


Friday 26 February 2010

Ontario's Olympic Tower of Mind Power

cntower night.jpg

Attendees of the Vancouver Olympics can manipulate the lighting on Toronto's CN Tower using their mind.

In 2007, the tallest freestanding structure in the Western hemisphere was outfitted with an computer-controlled LED illumination system capable of producing 16.7 million colors.  Each LED fixture can be individually programmed, allowing for an endless variety of visual effects.

At the Ontario Pavilion in Vancouver, participants can control the tower%u2019s lighting by means of electrodes monitoring their brainwaves.

"The lighting is controlled by two types of brain wave. Alpha waves - achieved by relaxation - bring the lights on the CN Tower closer to the observation deck, and beta waves - achieved by concentration - cause the lights to spread out and flicker so they appear to be spinning quickly around the tower."


Image courtesy of La Tour CN.


If you can't be the world's largest freestanding structure, you can still be the world's largest Jedi Mind-trick Toy. Thanks to Olympic Fever, Torontonians can now wonder, "What were those West Coasties thinking?" and then just look up at the tower to find out!

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Paying Zero in Hard Cash

According to Anand, the idea was first conceived by an Indian physics professor at the University of Maryland, who, in his travels around India, realized how widespread bribery was and wanted to do something about it. He came up with the idea of printing zero-denomination notes and handing them out to officials whenever he was asked for kickbacks as a way to show his resistance. Anand took this idea further: to print them en masse, widely publicize them, and give them out to the Indian people. He thought these notes would be a way to get people to show their disapproval of public service delivery dependent on bribes. The notes did just that. The first batch of 25,000 notes were met with such demand that 5th Pillar has ended up distributing one million zero-rupee notes to date since it began this initiative. Along the way, the organization has collected many stories from people using them to successfully resist engaging in bribery.

Photo Credit: 5th Pillar

Monday 1 February 2010

Wordle This

If you use a screen-capture or other image representation of the Wordle on

this page, you must attribute the image to

Images of Wordles are licensed Creative Commons License

Wordle: A Servicable Substitute

Sunday 31 January 2010

Kids Can Press: "Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be"

available via

Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be is a straight-ahead introduction to the fact of evolution, to its mechanisms, and to the misunderstandings that surround it. The book aims to explain how evolution works ??? and how we know for a fact that it happens. It is suitable for readers aged 8 ??? 13.

There are many fine kids books about evolution, but this one is distinguished by its skeptical pedigree. While laying out the evidence for evolution, this book also takes a critical look at common objections to evolutionary theory. Those pseudoscientific notions (???Isn???t there a dinosaur still alive in Africa someplace? Doesn???t that mean evolution didn???t happen????) are major barriers to understanding for many people. Luckily, getting to the bottom of those sorts of questions is what skeptics do.

The writing is as clear as I can possibly make it ??? and then some. Nothing teaches you to strip out ambiguity and jargon like writing for kids.

the new book just out by Junior Skeptic columnist Daniel Loxton, this one goes out to that teacher who told Kaelin he couldn't do his science fair project on Darwin because the topic was "too difficult"

Friday 29 January 2010

The Kids Are Alright

In the UK, the dates are a little different but the recent drop is similar: crime rose up to the mid 1990s and then fell back down to where it started (source):

The picture is roughly the same in other industrialized countries. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of crime is committed by young people (specifically young men), this is evidence that something is not rotten in the state of today's yoof.

That's in terms of how they relate to others - what about how they feel about themselves? Have rates of mental illness increased? That's a difficult one because mental illness statistics are problematic, but in terms of the body count, suicide rates in young people have declined, albeit slightly, over the same period (source US, UK).

We don't know why crime rates fell. Everyone agrees that it happened, but everyone has their own ideas as to the cause, ranging from more abortions (the "Freakonomics theory"), to less lead pollution, to cellphones making it easier to report crimes, to... I'm sure you can make up your own. Ditto for suicide.

The point is, whatever reduced them, it's unlikely that something else was acting to increase them by any significant amount over the same period. It's possible - maybe something about 21st century life causes loads of crime and suicide, but luckily, some other mystery factor(s) reduced them even more at just the right time. But that's pretty implausible; if nothing else, Occam's razor tells us not to multiply explanatory factors unnecessarily. Which means it's implausible that the internet, video games, and the rest, are causing any significant degree of harm.



testing the

Sunday 24 January 2010

Consecrated Laptops

Will Pavia of London's The Times reports on efforts by the English Church to incorporate the blessing of modern technology, including ubiquitous Apple products such as the smart phone, into its centuries-old liturgy. The Church's willingness to adapt is evident, as Pavia reports, since "none had been brave enough to adapt its ceremonies to address the modern mysteries of 3G network coverage, iPhone apps and variable battery life" before the new liturgy was held January 11th at St. Lawrence Jewry in the City of London Corporation. Part of St. Lawrence's success in this endeavor is due to Canon Parrott, who exhibits a charisma and dynamism absent in many of England's quickly-emptying churches. "In his former parish", Pavia reports, "he once dressed up as a Christmas tree to promote the message of Christmas".

At first, this novel practice may appear to many as bizarre, newfangled, and even irreverent, as though the timeless character of the liturgy has been diluted. But this rite may not seem so bizarre as one might first think. In the Middle Ages, Pavia notes, laborers would commemorate Plow Monday by bringing their plows to the church door and leaving them there to be blessed by the clergy. Thus, ecclesiastical adaptation to modern-day needs and interests is not a new phenomenon; the Church (at that time the Universal Church, since the English Church had not yet been established) has long been appealing to its laity with innovations which would have been highly personal for, and contemporary with, them.

Why do congregation members bring their plows and laptops to church to be blessed? The ritual may have deeper and more anthropologically significant roots than we imagine...

Image and Source: The Times

Thursday 21 January 2010

Red Green's Possum Van - Model Cars Magazine

more pictures at

An astute commenter points out how the original AMC model kit body was deftly hacked to change the standard van into a maxi-van, which is amazing way beyond the fine detail Tim Hortons cups, bent-bristle snowbrush and duct-taped bucket seats. Red says, "I think this is the first time in history where the 1/25th scale model is worth more than the full-sized version."

Sunday 10 January 2010

Grime writing (reverse graffiti)


From the November 23, 2009 Financial Times: "Paul 'Moose' Curtis [above] founded Symbollix in 2003, after his particular brand of 'grime writing' ??? creating pictures and slogans by selectively cleaning the dirt off walls and pavements ??? caught the attention of corporate marketing departments."

I came up the idea of grime writing orreverse graffiti 10 years ago, while trying to promote a record that myrecord label was about to release. There was no marketing money, so Iwent to a tunnel in Leeds with a friend who was a great graffitiartist, and in seconds made a huge piece ??? just using an old rag andhis fingers to write in the dirt. We had created legal graffiti. No onehad ever invested any time in these tunnels and our work shone likechrome.

After that revelation, I carried on writing on walls as a meansof self-expression. It was unique at the time. And it began to dawn onme that I could make money out of it. I had worked as a technician onevents for the launch of the Xbox and showed it to the people I workedfor ??? they programmed it into the launch a few months later. That???swhen my hobby turned into a business. But I don???t refer to my work asreverse graffiti any more because of the negative connotations attachedto graffiti. 

Monday 4 January 2010

JLETB: The world's most advanced mobile non-profit recording studio


Yoko Ono Lennon, Quincy Jones and a Host of Other Celebrities Keep John Lennon???s Legacy Alive in 2010, with the Kick-off of his 70th Birthday Celebration at the 2010 NAMM Show

Legendary Icons Show Their Support of Music Education in His Honor; John Lennon Educational Tour Bus Keeps Legacy Alive for Students Across America

???This is precisely the type of project that John Lennon would have loved.???

???Yoko Ono Lennon

WHAT: Yoko Ono Lennon keeps John???s legacy alive by kicking off 2010 with a press conference at NAMM, the international music products association, supporting music education in celebration of Lennon???s 70th birthday. Quincy Jones and a host of other celebrities will speak out on the importance of music education on behalf of American youth. Students from South Central Los Angeles??? Fernando Pullum Performing Arts School will perform a medley of Lennon songs with Rickey Minor, the musical director of American Idol, Jackson Browne and Fishbone. Yoko is utilizing this year to celebrate John???s legacy and is showing her continued support of music education and the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, which gives students across the country free hands-on access to music and the digital arts.

WHO: Yoko Ono Lennon, Quincy Jones, Jackson Browne, Fishbone, Rickey Minor, Joe Lamond, CEO of NAMM, Brian Rothschild (Executive Director of The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus), Fernando Pullum, Principal of the Fernando Pullum Performing Arts School and his students.

WHEN: Thursday, January 14th, 1:30pm

WHERE: NAMM Show, Wanna Play?/Lennon Bus Stage at the Arena Plaza, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA

WHY: As Yoko says,

???The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a non-profit outreach program with the mission of giving kids a chance to express themselves through music and video productions. It has been a living legacy to John???s passion for musical expression and artistic freedom. By utilizing the on-the-road John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and its fine studio set-up, thousands of students have written, recorded and produced original songs and videos ??? students who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to explore these avenues of creativity. At a time with music education in the schools is facing tough funding challenges, the Bus has been a rolling testament to the enduring, positive power of music making.???

The students from the Fernando Pullum Performing Arts School are a shining example of what music education can do. In an area of Los Angeles where only 30% of students graduate from high school, 100% of Fernando???s students graduate from high school, and 99% have gone on to college. To learn how to keep music in your local community, go to, a non-profit outreach initiative of the NAMM Foundation.

I'd had a similar intent with the multi-media studio component at the Ontario Science Centre in 1994; I had coaxed Silicon Graphics to provide us with their very latest video post-processing gear to be housed in an isolated work-area of the Information Highway exhibit, even Alias Research came on board to provide the complete Maya kit for photo-realistic 3d animation, and as with the LennonBus we had arrangements with these vendors to re-furbish the gear on a regular basis to give the schools opportunity to use the very latest pro-quality tools.

Sadly, however, the schools refused to use the studio. We had one private media-arts college that agreed to bring about a half-dozen kids in a few times, and that was it, a free-access million-dollar studio sat there weeks on end, collecting dust, growing obsolete. I really did think it would work, I really though the schools would beat the door down trying to get their hands on that gear. Go figure.

Sunday 3 January 2010

WAR IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT: John and Yoko, 40 Years Later


My Music is Words - the Poetics of Sun Ra

Nathaniel Earl Bowles's thesis submitted to the Virginia Polytechnic Instituted and State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English, April 17th, 2008